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Very Good Baseball And Exceedingly Bad Times, With Justin Ellis

Justin Turner grimaces after nearly hitting a home run in Game 6 of the World Series, while aware he'd tested positive for Covid-19.
Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Just in terms of serotonin-management, it has never simple to manage the drop-off between the giddiness of October baseball and the sudden anxious vacancy of the offseason. In recent years, the disparity between some very good World Series and some increasingly bleak and queasy offseasons has made the challenge worse. In 2020, fittingly, even the celebration felt wrong, swamped as it was by both the blithe cynicism that defined MLB’s approach to the whole season and the broader institutional failure and abdication that just keep on making everything so much worse. Whatever the offseason brings, it’s hard to imagine how it could feel worse than this. It was Defector editor Justin Ellis’s great good luck to join us to discuss all this happy stuff on his first Distraction appearance.

To be clear, this was not just doom and gloom. There was a decent amount of doom, and also enough gloom that I feel compelled to mention it here, but we managed to talk about horror movies (which Justin does not care for), the magical saga of The Snyder Cut’s odyssey at HBO Max (which we all find delightful), and the universal media-consumer experience of having important things explained to you, incompletely and in a condescending tone, by people with undergraduate degrees from Ivy League schools (which everyone of course loves). I also told the story of a hideously and inexplicably mutilated Brandon Jacobs jersey I saw at Goodwill years ago, and which has haunted my dreams ever since. In the Funbag, Nicolas Cage is celebrated, the pedagogical uses of Leaving Las Vegas are debated, everyone gets worked up about stale tortilla chips, and a good time was had by all. Well decently good. We did our best. It’s a difficult time.

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